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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Where the Surf Meets The Turf

- Yes, Green Mtn Punter, the silky voice of Bing Crosby serenades us with "Where the Surf Meets the Turf" as the horses come onto the track for the first race. I know that because I actually made it for the opener on Monday. The eight race cards on the weekdays impart a sense of urgency as far as getting there on time goes. There are some great old photos around the track of celebrities of days past; many of course feature Bing and co-founder Pat O-Brian. Shots of Gregory Peck and Lucille Ball also come to mind. But I haven't seen anyone famous other than Cristine Olivares. I wouldn't say that I feel as if the place seems steeped with tradition. The structure looks and feels new, the floor boards don't creak when you step over them, there's no spring water, and, thankfully, there are no bells clanging over the P.A system 18 minutes before post time! Time for that bit of tradition to be retired!

Ashley's Kitty looks like some possible value in the 7th today. If you discard her route tries, you'll see that she's undefeated at sprint distances, most recently in the Grade 3 Railbird stakes, in which she took advantage of one of those blistering California paces that we used to see, and got up to win by a nose. That race has produced two wins, a second, and a third in subsequent efforts, all in stakes races. She faces older fillies and mares for the first time here, but she has a sparkling workout over the track, and her running style from the Railbird should suit her well in a race with no lack of early speed.

The finale is a wide open turf race for maidens; I gotta say that I'm having a tough time singling out potential winners out here. Pride of Pegasus goes back to the grass for McAnally; her debut was a grass sprint in which she finished well. By Fusaichi Pegasus out of the G1 Yellow Ribbon winner Alpride, she should like the route. Awesome Feat has run respectably on the Poly for John Sadler; she switches surfaces and stretches out. She's by Awesome Again, out of a half-sister to the dam of the multiple turf stakes winner Up An Octave. Forest Melody has steadily improved, and seems like a logical selection to at least hit the money here. And oh boy, here's Frankel again. I am just way off with this guy recently. Over the weekend, I singled out Ginger Punch as a bet-against as the favorite in the Go For Wand. That selection was based on solid principle, and I stand behind it even though she won. However, I'm just not having much luck with the guy, and he's one of my favorite trainers. Mezuzah makes her first start since June, 2006, when she debuted with a win (dq'd) in a turf route at Hollywood. As the 3-1 morning line favorite, she presents a familiar dilemma here. But I'll stand against and go with McAnally's filly at 6-1. So you might want to consider singling Mezuzah in your Pick Six!

All in all, Wednesday's card is another that I find quite difficult. The only other horse that caught my eye is Lazio, in the fifth. This one has turned things around completely since getting Victor Espinoza on board three races back. In his last, he recovered from a sluggish start, and just missed catching the pace setting Datticus, also in this race. Even though they shorten up to a mile here, Lazio should be closing stoutly at the end. Good luck and have a great day, whether you're where the surf meets the turf, where the bell clangs 18 minutes before post, or wherever.


Brett said...

My single in the pick four or six whichever is in Race 6, True Xena. Nakatani gets the mount again where he won on her last out in a 62K non-winners of one allowance at Hollywood. The horse showed a speedy work at Del Mar on the 26th of July and seems to be fit enough to win again today.

P4 Ticket:

R5- 1,4,5,9
R6- 6
R7- 3,5,6
R8- 1,2,9,10

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Alan, for your report on Del Mar traditions and ambience- for me that is a big part of what makes Del Mar and Saratoga so special. I can still remember a Bogart flick in which Bogie's character says they went down to Del Mar to the races- anyone know which Bogie flick? Anyway, look forward to hearing more impressions of Del Mar and the local scene. /S/ Green Mtn Punter

Anonymous said...

Your painting reminds me of another Del Mar tradition- exercising horses on the beach. Are they still doing it? That to me was always a big part of the Del Mar mystique. /S/ Green Mtn Punter

Anonymous said...

They dont work or take the horses to the beach anymore. There is often a picture of a jock on a horse at the beach on the DM web site. The jock is Jeff Bloom, a former jock, who is also West Point Thoroughbreds VP. The pictures were a few years back

Alan, it sounds like you are having a good time at DM, I might catch up with you on Saturday. I am 50/50 to make it there.If I do go I will be there for the Morning works from 7:30 to 9:30.

Nice meeting you briefly last Saturday. Hope its not too humid for you, lol.


PS-- I bet you enjoy hearing the waves hit the beach at night time from up on the cliffs.